L&A Family Farms

Eggs

 Our layer flock currently consists of ISA Brown chickens.  ISA Browns are a hybrid type of sex-link chickens. Sex-links are hybrid chickens that can be sexed at hatching, usually by color. The name ISA Brown is actually a brand name. The 'ISA' stands for "Institute de Selection Animale" – a French company that developed the breed in 1978.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Our egg layers are raised on pasture where they have access to bugs, grass, and other various  forages. We manage the chickens' forage consumption by rotational grazing. We move their electrified netting pens around their shelter as needed. This allows the forage to regrow before the chickens are introduced again.

 We let our chickens be chickens, allowing them to display their natural behaviors, such as dust bathing, establishing pecking order and yearly  molting.

Industrialized hens spend their lives in wire or plastic cages, either by themselves or with multiple chickens in the same cage.  To prevent birds from injuring themselves they are de-beaked. Artificial light is provided 15-17 hours per day to stimulate more laying.

When egg production starts to decrease in factory laying barns, the chickens are forced to molt. Their feed is restricted for 5 to 15 days and their photoperiod is altered. Forced molting is an economical practice that expands the chickens' "economical useful life."  When the chickens are fed again, they will produce more eggs.

 

Our hens are not caged. They are trained to lay eggs in nests boxes in their shelter. Their shelter also contains roosting perches. This is where the lounge during the day and sleep at night. Their shelter is a 30' X 72' hoop structure. The white covering provides shade in the summer and lets in a lot of natural light.

On sunny days in the winter, it is quite comfortable even without supplemental heat. Deep straw bedding is used in the winter and an area is provided for dust bathing. The hens are fed hay periodically in the winter.  They enjoy scratching through the hay, eating the seeds and the different plants within it. We also periodically scatter a little bit of wheat on the bedding. This acts as a treat, and the scratching they do in the bedding keeps it stirred up and fresher. They are also fed vegetable scraps when available. Our eggs are carefully washed, candled, graded, sized and placed into egg cartons.  They are kept at 32-45°F in our cooler.

 

You will see a difference between our eggs and the ones you get in the grocery store. Our pasture raised hens lay eggs with yolks that stand up and have a deep golden orange color. This is due to the freshness and the chlorophyll (greens) in their diets.

The key to quality is the pasture. Chickens eat a lot of grasses, clovers, and weeds. This gives the flavor people describe when they talk about “real farm eggs.” Yolks from the grocery store are often paler and thinner. Even some of the eggs that are labeled free range or cage free still do not have adequate quality grass in their diets.

Chickens that are allowed to eat grass and other green plants lay eggs that are higher in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and have higher Vitamin A and E levels.   Omega 3’s are thought to lower health risks including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders. Research done by H. D. Karsten, P. H. Patterson, G. W. Crews, and R. C. Stout; Crop & Soil Sciences and Poultry Science Departments, The Pennsylvania State University (2003) found pasture birds produced three times more Omega 3 fat in their eggs than birds raised on an industrial diet, two times as much Vitamin E, and 40% more vitamin A in egg yolks of pasture raised birds than of caged birds.  The longer the chickens were on pasture, the more vitamins were produced.

 

 Here are a few other tidbits gleaned from American Egg Board (www.aeb.org) and the Egg Nutrition Center (www.enc-online.org).  Eggs are one of nature’s most complete foods, containing all essential health protection vitamins, except Vitamin C. They contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans. The yolk is especially rich in Vitamin A and D. Eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D. They provide some of the highest quality protein available in just 75 calories per egg. Eggs have been the standard by which all other proteins are measured. One egg provides 6 grams of protein or 12% of Recommended Daily Value. 

 

Protein rich foods such as eggs keep appetites satisfied longer and help preserve healthy lean muscle mass. Eggs are the best protein money can buy, and so nutrient dense they contribute a great deal more nutrition than calories. If eggs have one drawback, it’s that the yolks contain cholesterol. A single large egg contains about 213 milligrams of dietary cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends dietary cholesterol to be less than 300 mg daily. 

Eggs have been getting a bad rap as a forbidden food because of their cholesterol content. Research studies investigating the relationship between diet and blood cholesterol show that saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol, is what influences blood cholesterol levels the most [Howell et al.1997. Am J Clin Nutr. 65: 1747-64.1.].  Therefore, for most healthy people, saturated fat is a greater concern than dietary cholesterol, and eggs can readily fit into a heart healthy, nutritious diet. 

Dietary cholesterol does not automatically become blood cholesterol when you eat it. Most of your blood cholesterol is made by your body. Individuals vary in how much cholesterol their bodies make. Until more is known about individual dietary cholesterol limits, ask your doctor to assess your personal heart disease risks and dietary needs. Many nutrition experts believe that eggs fit into a healthy, well balanced eating plan. Moderation is the key. 

                                                     

 

Want your own eggs?

Twice a year spring and fall we rotate our hens at approximately 18 months of age.  If anyone is interested in purchasing them just let us know.  These hens still will be capable of laying many eggs, just not at the quantity and consistency we need to be profitable.  They would be great in a small backyard flock.  We would also raise ready to lay pullets (5 months old) for you.   We will need plenty of advance notice, since we only start pullets twice a year.  To raise them for you, we would need a non-refundable deposit of $3 a piece when you place your order.  When the order is placed we will negotiate a final price since we cannot determine the feed cost too far in advance.

To Place an order click here.

    per dozen
On Farm    $4.00
     
Off Farm    
    Medium    $3.50
    Large    $4.25
    X-Large    $4.25
    Jumbo    $4.50
     
CSA    $4.00

 

 

 

 

 

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